Looking to add healthier, more versatile foods to your regular diet? You can find a great one on the shelves of a Texas pecan store. Yes, it is often found in sugar-laden dishes, which is probably why it is so often overlooked. However, the pecan is actually a very healthy food choice. Packed with vitamins, minerals, age-defying antioxidants and a healthy helping of fiber, the pecan certainly has what it takes to rank as a superfood. Keep reading to learn even more about this surprisingly healthy nut.
Did you know about Pecans?
Although the pecan was not recorded until the 16 th century and not cultivated for planting until the late 17 th to early 18 th century, it has likely been around much longer. Believed to be North America’s only native tree nut, Native Americans relied upon the wild pecan as a food source, especially as the winter months approached. This is believed to be due to its amazing flavor, longevity and because the edible portion of the nut was more easily shelled than other species of nuts found in North America.
The penchant for pecans has grown greatly over the course of this tree’s existence. So much so, that pecan grafting techniques have been used to help develop trees with better disease resistance and larger, more superiorly flavored nuts. Although very few varieties are considered to be outstanding, over 1000 different varieties of pecan now exist. The United States is home to the vast majority of these trees and produces roughly 80% of the world’s pecans, with Texas being the second highest producer by state. If you haven’t visited a Texas pecan store yet to stock up on these tempting tree nuts, now is the time!
Pecans: Healthy AND Flavorful
With so many different ailments and illnesses being contributed to by the plethora of unhealthy food options available today, it’s great to know that healthy choices really aren’t that hard to find. In fact, they’re growing as we speak! Okay, okay…pun intended, but it’s true! Nearly all of the best foods for us grow on a tree, bush or vine. Pecans, for instance, may be used as an ingredient in many sugary foods, but they prove to be a tasty treat right out of the shell, too. Plus, they are packed with vitamins and minerals.
How many vitamins and minerals are in pecans?
Quite a few! Pecans contain 19 different vitamins and minerals, including: calcium, folic acid, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and vitamins A, B and even E. A single ounce can provide a tenth of the recommended daily fiber intake. But wait, there’s more!
Pecans can also help lower cholesterol. WHAT??? Yes!!! They also contain a high amount of unsaturated fat – also known as “healthy fat” – and it is believed that eating a handful of them each day can actually improve cholesterol. And ladies, this sodium-free, nutritious nut is chock full of antioxidants to help you keep that youthful glow.
The pecan perfect ingredient for your next delicious dish!
The vast majority of us have heard of pecan pie. Many likely crave it from time to time. Others look forward to it at Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners. But why limit yourself to just pecan pie? There are many great recipes that list this richly flavored nut as an ingredient.
Pecan pralines, candied pecans, butter pecan ice cream and other delicious delicacies make the pecan synonymous with sweets, but the truth is that this nut is just as delicious right from the shell. Its rich, sweet, and somewhat buttery flavor makes it the perfect choice for pairing with nearly anything! From sweet concoctions to salad greens and more, the pecan is certainly quite versatile.
Believe it or not, many Texas pecan store owners like to cook. In fact, more than one has discovered that pecan halves, pecan meal and chopped pecan pieces can be used in a wide variety of recipes to add a whole new dimension of flavor. Ever tried pecan crusted catfish? Check out the recipe. You won’t be disappointed.
Pick up a pound or two the next time you’re driving through!
There are a whole lot of reasons to visit the great state of Texas. Of course, finding a quaint little Texas pecan store that’s packed with plenty of luscious, pecan-inspired products might make your trip a bit more satisfying. Visit San Saba Texas to find out why we're the Pecan Capitol of the World!